Dazed and Confused [1993]

Genre: Comedy, Drama
A remastered set with new 5.1 Dolby Surround audio, commentary tracks, new documentaries and deleted scenes. Fast Times at Ridgemont High Before he became an overrated filmmaker, Cameron Crowe (Almost Famous) was a reporter for Rolling Stone who was so youthful looking that he could go undercover for a year at a California high school and write a book about it. He wrote the script for this film, based on that book, and it launched the careers of several young actors, including Jennifer Jason Leigh, Judge Reinhold, Phoebe Cates, and, above all, Sean Penn. The story line is episodic, dealing with the lives of iconic teen types: one of the school's cool kids, a nerd, a teen queen, and, most enjoyably, the class stoner (Penn), who finds himself at odds with a strict history teacher (a wonderfully spiky Ray Walston). This is not a great movie but very entertaining and, for a certain age group, a seminal movie experience. --Marshall Fine Dazed & Confused You remember high school? Really remember? If you think you do, watch this film: it'll all really come racing back. After changing the world with the generation-defining Slacker, director Richard Linklater turned his free-range vérité sensibility on the 1970s. As before, his all-seeing camera meanders across a landscape studded with goofy pop culture references and poignant glimpses of human nature. Only this time around, he's spreading a thick layer of nostalgia over the lens (and across the soundtrack). It's as if Fast Times at Ridgemont High was directed by Jean-Luc Godard. The story deals with a group of friends on the last day of high school, 1976. Good-natured football star Randall "Pink" Floyd navigates effortlessly between the warring worlds of jocks, stoners, wannabes, and rockers with girlfriend and new-freshman buddy in tow. Surprisingly, it's not a coming-of-age movie, but a film that dares ask the eternal, overwhelming, adolescent question, "What happens next?" It's a little too honest to be a light comedy (representative quote: "If I ever say these were the best years of my life, remind me to kill myself."). But it's also way too much fun (remember souped-up Corvettes and bicentennial madness?) to be just another existential-essay-on-celluloid. --Grant Balfour

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